A Crossmaglen man who fled from police after wrongly believing the MOT on his car had expired has been handed six penalty points.
Sentencing the 35-year-old, the deputy district judge said: “This is more than a momentary lapse in attention. Instead of a low level fine or nothing as your vehicle was valid, you have ended up before the court on much more serious matters.”
Ciaran Matthew Maguire, of Rathkeelan Park, had pleas of guilty entered to failing to stop for police and driving without due care or attention at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that on June 21, at 7.35pm, police observed a Toyota Avensis travelling at speed on North Street, Crossmaglen.
Officers followed the vehicle onto the Newry Road. Whilst stopped in traffic police had an unobstructed view of the driver and two passengers.
Police then continued behind the driver onto the Creamery Road with lights and siren then activated to signal for them to stop.
The vehicle instead sped up, until it met another oncoming vehicle. At this point, the driver slowed down before mounting a grass verge and travelling at speed with police losing sight.
On June 24, officers attended the address of the last registered owner and spoke to the defendant, who they recognised as the driver.
Maguire was arrested and during interview denied being the driver on the date in question.
Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare explained that his client panicked as he believed his car did not have a valid MOT certificate.
He stated: “He did not realise that there had been a Covid exception, he had no reason to flee. The last entry on his record is from 2014, before he obtained his licence.”
Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said: “This is more than a momentary lapse in attention. Instead of a low level fine or nothing as your vehicle was valid, you have ended up before the court on much more serious matters.
“Luckily no one else was affected by this piece of driving.”
Maguire was handed six penalty points and was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within eight weeks.